Happy New Year groovers and welcome back!
This is the post where I look back at the year that was – the good and the bad! For the purposes of this blog, I’m keeping it strictly book related, omitting family and world events. I will however (since this is a book blog) at the end of the blog add my 3 hits and 1 loser books I’ve read.
Let’s start with the high notes.
Three Massive Hits.
Hit #1.-The Russian Tapestry is published in Germany
This was a definite highlight for me. In March, The Russian Tapestry’s little sister was released in Germany. Originally out in hardcover, it was released three months later in paperback.
The astute reader would note that the author’s name is different to mine. That’s because my German publishers wanted a name which would be easier for the German population than Banafsheh. Personally, I don’t think the author’s name has as much baring on the book’s sale as the title of the book, but I wasn’t terribly fussed. My publishers were happy with my choice of using my mother’s name. As for me,it was all worth it when mum’s eyes misted over seeing her name on my book.
Hit #2. Author Events
For years now I’ve been heading Your Bookshop’s Author Event programs. I’ve been responsible for sourcing authors; liaising between publicists, librarians and our book buyer; co-ordinating the date, time and venue; promoting the event via our website, newsletter and social media platforms; ensuring stock of books for the event; and book-selling on the night.
Each month I had anywhere between 3-6 events. It was like running my own mini writers’ festival. And I loved every minute of it!
Sadly we had to cut back on the number of events this year. But even so, I still got to work with some of Australia’s best authors and speakers: Jane Caro, Richard Glover, David Hunt, Peter Fitzsimons, Lee Holmes, and Hugh Mackay to name a few.
Hit #3. Top 3 Tips Blog
Hopefully you’ve been following my blog and know that each month I invite a guest from the book industry to share their tips on a topic of their choice. Guests have included children’s writer Tristan Bancks; best-selling crime novelist, Michael Robotham; historical fiction writer, Fiona McIntosh; and founder of Better Reading, Cheryl Akle. You’ll find all past contributors to My 3 Tips here
Just like the author events, I really enjoyed sourcing the different personalities and sharing insights into the book industry – from Tips for Aspiring Authors to Tips on running a successful book club.
The Great Big Loser of 2016
There was really no contest over 2016’s biggest loser. After 20+ years of book-selling, this year we closed all 5 bookstores.
It was a heartbreaking experience which I wrote about in 23 Years A Bookseller. That was July and I’ve been out of the book industry since.
I miss being around books. I miss the smell of books fresh out of boxes. I miss the weight of the pages in my hand. I miss the promise of a life, or an adventure to be explored. I miss talking about books with people who are strangers in every sense of the word, and yet we share a common bond because of our love of the written language.
I still read (though not as much) and I continue to write, and organise events. But it’s not the same. Something is missing. Something tangible. Something big.
I feel it ripple in the centre of my chest. Under the layers of flesh and ticking, and otherwise perfectly functioning organs, I feel the zig-zagging of creases across my heart. And though in time the creases will be ironed out and the missing will ease, for now, closing the book stores remains my one big loser of 2016!
Top Three Hit Reads
I’ve scanned through my Goodreads page for my last year’s reads and below are my pick hits for 2016.
I thoroughly enjoyed all three and cannot recommend them highly enough. I especially loved ‘A Monster Calls’ and can’t wait to see the adaptation when it hits the big screens.
One Big Loser
The good news is there wasn’t any obvious losers for me this year. Looking over my Goodreads list, I seem to have enjoyed (at least at some level) every book I’d read. There were however two books that I was very keen to read and was giddy with excitement when I got my hands on them, only to find them lacking.
So I’m revising my loser status to disappointed and declaring it a tie between these two books.
I know this will cause some controversy, because both are superbly written. And well received. My disappointed is by no means a reflection on the authors’ talents. It’s just that, having read and loved their previous work, I had high expectations. and I guess, these books fell short of those expectations.
So what did you think? What were some of the hits and misses of your year?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comments (praise, criticism, etc) in the space below.
Till next time…